Video Key in the Evolution of Rugby at Tauranga Boys' College

To compete at the top end of high school rugby in New Zealand, Tauranga Boys' College have recently introduced video analysis to enhance player development and game understanding within their squad. 

Read on to learn how video is becoming an essential tool for this traditionally successful rugby school.

Tauranga Boys’ College 1st XV play in the Super 8 competition - one of the highest levels of schoolboy rugby in New Zealand composed of eight of strongest high schools in the North Island.

Tauranga have recently implemented video analysis into their preparations for matches and although self-analysis through video was initially daunting, it has quickly been accepted by players as a key tool for improvement.

The key for Tauranga’s coach Richard Apanui in introducing video, was to make his players realise that it’s a tool to improve their performance and then to deliver analysis in a comfortable environment.

“It was quite confronting the first time, especially when you see yourself missing tackles and goals,” said Apanui.

“It can still be confronting for the boys when they’re starting out with it. We’re here to make mistakes and we can improve on them together.”

Apanui realised the effectiveness of video after being part of a professional setup for Southland, alongside several years of experience playing in France and Japan.

From his extensive experience in professional environments, Apanui says, “Video is concrete evidence, as you think you’re doing one thing but you’re actually doing another.”

For Tauranga Boys’, video analysis more than just about helping players develop their game skills, it also adds an ability to make presentations to a group with confidence.

“We have  a wide range of boys with various skills and getting up and talking in front of a group helps them build confidence,” says Apanui.

“When you break something down in video for them, that builds confidence on the field. They recognize where the perfect opportunity for a move is since they’ve seen it, lived it through video and can have the confidence to play it out.”

“When you break something down in video for them, that builds confidence on the field"

Uptake of video analysis has been rapid for the Tauranga players, with Hudl now becoming an essential tool for the squad.

“There is a massive difference between the first session and the last session in terms of player confidence, the way they are around technology.” Apanui said.

With student athletes primarily focusing on schoolwork, extra time spent on video analysis is at a premium. The ease of using Hudl’s platform has made sure rugby analysis time can be balanced with the boys’ studies.

“We try to maximise our time with the boys and our objective is to not pull them out of their classes,” said Apanui.

Want to learn how North Harbour Rugby Union identify and develop their young talent through video analysis? Click here.

Tauranga’s coaches are also saving hours of time in cutting up and analysing game footage, making sure it is available for viewing by the players the day after a match takes place.

The game can be cut into clips on the bus by coaches on the way back from a fixture using Sportscode, then messages are sent out to groups to focus on certain areas depending on position.

Before their first training session on the Tuesday, the boys have already watched the game and done their analysis.

“With Hudl, the boys can cut individual clips of themselves and they are not just spending all their time training with us,” said Apanui.

“They spend half of that time watching video, making clips and talking about them which has gained a lot of time for us.”

”Be a role model for the players, show them what’s required, show them that it’s ok to make mistakes”

Following the success of the school’s rugby program using Hudl, the school have been impressed with the results and are starting to expand the use video to different sporting codes.

“The school is also helping other sports find great value in video,” states Apanui.

“The school’s volleyball team has also started using it and with these teams talking to other sports teams about it, the interest and acceptance across sports is expected to increase.”

Based on his experience with video, Richard Apanui has advice for young coaches who might be interested in implementing video analysis for their players.

”Be a role model for the players, show them what’s required, show them that it’s ok to make mistakes,” Apanui explained.

“Start with a simple task and see it grow from there.”

To learn more about how Hudl uses analytics to fuel rugby in the modern era, take a look at how North Harbour Rugby Union use video at all levels of rugby in their region, and also how Top 14 Rugby’s Stade Rochelais are using cutting-edge video technology to stay ahead of the game.